Minneapolis is one of the largest cities in America to toss out Columbus Day and no longer celebrate the life of a genocidal mass murderer. Today is Indigenous Peoples Day in the city, although when you got to the bank and thought Damn! the sign on the door probably still said “Closed for Columbus Day.”
We had proposed this change here on the Hymie’s blog every Columbus Day for years, and also produced a program about the music of the Native American protest movement for KFAI’s Wave Project in 2011. Here it is:
Our old friends the Southside Aces have been holding down a residency at the Eagles Club #34 here in the neighborhood for longer than we can remember. On the second Thursday of every month the present an evening of traditional jazz certain to please even the most discriminating listener or dancer. Often we discuss upcoming themes with clarinetist Tony Balluff here in the shop, whether it’s a night of early Ellingtonia or an evening with the music of Sidney Bechet.
And for a long time we have been encouraging the talented Mr. Balluff to consider a jazz theme that is ostensibly outside the box — the music featured on The Muppet Show!
You may think its silly at first, but the early Muppet performers — Jim Henson, Frank Oz, Dave Goelz, Jerry Nelson, Richard Hunt and more — loved traditional jazz. The show itself was modeled after a vaudeville program. Its magical and meteoric five year run was peppered with tunes from the turn of the century through the jazz era.
We have been posting about the music of The Muppet Show since the early days of the Hymies blog, just search in that box on your right for “muppet” and you’ll see! We are very excited for the Aces to perform many of the jazz standards which appeared on the show as well as their interpretations of some Muppet originals we suggested. All this happens this coming Thursday and the Eagles Club!
Here is one of our favorite Irving Berlin tunes as it appeared in the third season of The Muppet Show. A little background: “Blue Skies” was also the first song heard in a motion picture, when Al Jolson sang it in The Jazz Singers. It was written to fill space in a largely forgotten Rodgers & Hart musical called Betsy but went on to become a favorite of jazz music.
Last week we sat down with Andrea Swensson from Minnesota Public Radio’s Current to share some stories from the last decade here at your friendly neighborhood record shop. And more specifically to talk about the future. It’s been a wild ride, and we’re really proud of the shop we built here after our 2009 move, but we also feel its time for someone else to make their mark here. And that’s why Hymie’s Records is for sale.
You can read Andrea’s story on the Current’s blog here.
(Photo by Nate Ryan for Minnesota Public Radio)
Don’t worry friends, the record store isn’t going anywhere. This is our neighborhood (the best in the world!) and we can’t imagine it without the best record store in the world! In the mean time, interested parties can contact us for more information at Irene at Hymiesrecords.com.
Our pals the Southside Aces are returning to one of their favorite themes for this month’s ‘second Thursday’ performance at the Eagles Club #34, and that’s the music of New Orleans clarinet legend George Lewis. It may be because the Aces’ clarinet player picks the themes, but either way George Lewis night presents the band at their best.
Lewis was largely unheard outside of New Orleans until the middle of his career, when we went on to become an ambassador of sorts for traditional jazz. From the 1940s until his death in 1968 he recorded and toured, documenting the pre-swing sound with his big sound and distinctive style.
The Southside Aces will perform songs associated with Lewis this Thursday night at the Eagles, starting at 8pm.
A post about a famous cellist as a nod to our friend Aaron Kerr, a cellist and teacher who has hosted his student recitals here at Hymies for eight years.
There’s a controversial movie about the private life of Jacqueline Du Pré, a cellist whose short career revived England’s role in classical music, in particular Edward Elgar’s Cello Concerto. Du Pré’s life and career didn’t need to be sensationalized to be interesting, as she was one of those classical musicians whose music spoke for itself.
Du Pré first performed the Elgar concerto at her concert debut in 1962 when she was seventeen years old. She went on to perform it again at the BBC’s prominent Proms summer festival, and a subsequent recording of the piece became an international hit. After this she studied with Mstislav Rostropovich and earned his praise.
She made many famous friends in the classical community — A 1969 recording of Schubert’s “Trout” Quintet featured Du Pré along with her husband Daniel Barenbiom, Itzhak Perlman, Pinchas Zuckerman and Zubin Mehta. It was a classical “super group” along the lines of rock’s Traveling Wilburys, and they performed and recorded several chamber pieces together.
Du Pré was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and her career came to a tragic end. She was so, so young when she passed away, and the loss for listeners like ourselves is enormous. In a short time she truly brought new life into the world of classical music.
Her recordings of Elgar and Schubert are highly regarded. We also love this album of Du Pré and Barenbohm performing Beethoven’s Cello Sonata no.3 in A Major. Regular readers of the Hymies blog know how highly we regard Beethoven’s music — this work, completed at the same time as the Fifth and Sixth Symphonies, is unique in the way the cello and piano interact and share the lead role.
Pianist Stephen Bishop-Kovacevich had toured with Du Pré, and had also performed and recorded other Beethoven works at the time of this recording. His 1968 recording of the Diabelli Variations is one of the best. Although he was born in the United States, he has long lived in England. At seventy-seven, he is still performing.